Thobela query prompts relook at SA boxing policies

Administrators said on Tuesday that Boxing South Africa (BSA) would seek to form its own policies after the governing body failed in an attempt to apologise publicly to former world champion Dingaan Thobela.

Moffat Qithi, the newly appointed BSA chief executive, said the federation had no governing policies of its own and relied entirely on regulations set out in the South African Boxing Act of 2001 when the national federation was formed.

“These regulations were compiled by the minister of sport, not by people in the boxing fraternity,” Qithi said.

“As the body which regulates boxing, it is important that we have our own policies at BSA.”

The problems within the governing body were emphasised when BSA realised Thobela had not been invited to a media conference where he was expected to accept an apology.

Thobela had been awarded a licence to fight later this year—in what would have been his first bout since 2006—but his clearance to climb in the ring was later revoked.

His application did not comply with certain prerequisites in the Boxing Act due to his age and his long absence from the ring.

BSA chairperson Peter Ngatane said he had met with Thobela, who heard in the media that his licence had been revoked, and the fighter had agreed to withdraw his application and accept an apology.

But Qithi said due to miscommunication at BSA, Thobela had not been informed of the venue or the time of the conference.

“The manner in which the withdrawal of his licence came out in the media was badly handled,” Ngatane said in Thobela’s absence.

“BSA would like to extend an apology to Mr Thobela for the manner in which this matter has been handled.”

Ngatane said Qithi had been tasked with compiling a report to pinpoint where the error in issuing the licence had occurred.

Hold that thought
Thobela’s case seems isolated but with a number of South African boxers having previously received licences despite being over the age of 35 and missing from the ring for more than 12 months—the two regulations that precluded Thobela’s application.

Francois Botha was allowed to face Australian Bob Mirovic for the interim WBF heavyweight title in July 2007 at the age of 38 despite a five-year absence from the ring.

Botha, now 42, defeated heavyweight prospect Flo Simba in June this year in his first fight in 14 months.

When asked at the conference who had pointed out to the federation that boxers were being awarded licences despite falling short on qualifying criteria, Ngatane refused to answer the question.

“I must ask you to hold that question until after our chief executive has compiled his report,” he said.—Sapa


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